The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 6, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, stated that the Soviets could be assured that the U.S. would negotiate in good faith at the Big Four summit meetings in Geneva, scheduled to start July 18. He said that no member of the U.S. Government had stated that the Russians would be in a position of weakness, appearing to respond to a statement on the Fourth of July by Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, denying that the Soviet Union would be negotiating from a point of weakness in the forthcoming talks and that nothing good could come of the conference unless the West treated the Soviets as an equal. The President said that he would attend the conference with a hopeful attitude, that he did not expect disarmament to be the result but that agreement might be reached as to the best channel for conducting disarmament talks, that the matter boiled down to obtaining a proper inspection system which both sides could accept.

The President also stated his delight that the city of Memphis had decided to build its own electric power plant, which would render the Dixon-Yates utility combine project unnecessary. He also said, in response to a question, that he definitely regarded the role of Adolph Wenzell in the Dixon-Yates project as appropriate. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee and other legislators had raised a question as to whether Mr. Wenzell had been working in the interest of the First Boston Corp., which employed him, while serving as a consultant to the Budget Bureau, the White House having denied that he had any part in formulating policy on the Dixon-Yates contract. First Boston had arranged the financing for the project.

The President also dodged further questions regarding his intent to seek a second term in 1956.

Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina said that he was asking the President to use a procedure different from that proposed by fellow South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond "to save the textile industry." Senator Johnston supported Senator Thurmond's resolution to establish a Tariff Commission to study the proposed cuts in tariff rates to Japanese textile imports, finding it a step in the right direction, but not affording immediate relief. Senator Johnston proposed having the President impose quotas on textile imports under Section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, empowering the President to use import quotas to prevent excessive shipments to the U.S. of a food or fiber under price supports. The Senator stated that the provision of the law gave the President authority to "correct the State Department's blundering textile agreement with Japan" made recently at Geneva. Southern textile mills were complaining that the proposed tariff cuts would give unfair advantage in the market to cheap Japanese textiles products, made with much cheaper labor.

In Walla Walla, Wash., nine Washington State prison officers who had been seized at knife-point in a sudden revolt against discipline, were being held captive this date as officials and inmates argued over the terms of their release. A recount found that a total of 11 men, including an associate warden, had been seized the previous morning when 33 of the toughest convicts at the prison had violently rioted in an attempt to force changes in parole and classification procedures, and other practices at the prison. The seized officers were regarded as being in no immediate danger, but prison officials believed that the prison was in the control of the convicts until arrangements for the release of the officers could be effected.

In Los Angeles, a first-year student at Southwestern School of Law, following 14 hours of questioning—though actually only sporadic questioning for an hour each of three times over the course of five and a half hours—, confessed to beating, stabbing and strangling to death a wealthy young society divorcee, according to police. They indicated that he had admitted to the slaying, which had occurred in the bedroom of a Bel Air mansion in the wee hours of the previous morning, saying that he did it because she had rejected his love and had humiliated him by falling asleep while he was talking to her. (Law students must expect that type of reaction in amorous pursuits, as discussing the law of contracts in relation to romance is not so captivating to the uninitiated regarding the finer points of Hadley v. Baxendale.) The accused, 31, a former student the previous year at UCLA, had been a former houseboy at that time in the home of the 33-year old victim, and was taken to the scene by police early this date to reenact the homicide. He had demonstrated, according to police, how he had hidden in a clothes closet and emerged when the victim, mother of three, had returned from a July Fourth cocktail party at the home of her father, a millionaire contractor. He had then killed her. The previous night, he had denied killing the woman and refused to take a lie detector test, his confession having followed this date after the questioning during the course of five and half hours before he was permitted to sleep after 5:00 a.m., following his arrest about 15 and a half hours earlier, his confession having been made about 14 hours after arrest. He had admitted once threatening to kill the woman if she broke up with him but said that there was nothing to the threat. Police said that they had found "intellectual love letters" from the accused to the victim in the latter's home. We suppose that should the accused successfully raise a motion, eleven years before Miranda v. Arizona though 15 years after Chambers v. Florida, to exclude the confession on the ground of police coercion from prolonged questioning and sleep deprivation, his subsequent trial would be completely untainted by his prior admissions.

We, incidentally, made a pretty good guess, but the Supreme Court in 1958 would affirm his conviction and death sentence, despite his claim of a coerced confession, by a 5 to 4 decision, Justice William O. Douglas having written the dissent, joined by Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justices Hugo Black and William Brennan, finding that the repeated demand by the accused to have an attorney present during the interrogation, prior to his confession, was paramount and the interrogation should have ended at that point, that the police only agreed to allow him to call a legal assistant or attorney after the interrogation was concluded. The Miranda decision, delivered by Chief Justice Warren, would expressly overrule Crooker in 1966. The accused in this case would have his death sentence commuted in 1959 by Governor Pat Brown to life without possibility of parole and in 1966, to life with possibility of parole, resulting in the release of the defendant on parole in 1972, at a time when Ronald Reagan was Governor—albeit when the Governor, prior to a passed proposition in 1988, could only request, pursuant to Penal Code Section 3041.1, another review of an inmate's determination of suitability for parole and not override it in cases of murder. The trial judge in the case was Stanley Mosk, subsequently appointed by Governor Brown to the State Supreme Court in 1964, where he served for 37 years, and was instrumental in Governor Brown's decision to commute the sentence in the case. The Crooker case had been the only time during his tenure on the Superior Court that Judge Mosk had imposed a death sentence, in this case having been recommended by the jury.

Incidentally, anyone eager to jump on the moronic Fox "News" bandwagon and proclaim that, here, we have a perfect "liberal" example of a pair of precedents being overturned only eight years after they were decided, and so the overruling of Roe v. Wade in 2022 is perfectly justifiable, needs to distinguish the matter of narrowing individual Constitutional liberties previously decided from expanding those liberties, the former never having been done previously by the Supreme Court until 2022, the latter having been done on several occasions.

In Raleigh, the revenue commissioner reported that the general fund of the state had collected a record total of more than 189.1 million dollars during the previous fiscal year, exceeding by 1.5 million dollars the estimates made during the 1955 legislative session of the General Assembly.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that State health authorities had indicated some disagreement regarding the effectiveness of the Salk vaccine against polio within the state, with two medical research authorities having released a report through the State Board of Health stating a warning that the use of the vaccine could materially influence the polio rates in the state during the year. They stated that a Michigan study had revealed that only 49 percent effectiveness had been achieved with the Salk vaccine. But the State Health officer said that the report, which had originated from his office, though compiled by Chapel Hill researchers, should not be considered as grim as it suggested, stating that he still had complete confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccine, that the Michigan study had been released for information purposes only, that while being compiled from statistics which were medically valid, he regretted that it had been used as a guide for the Chapel Hill study. The report had been written based on a study conducted at the School of Public Health at UNC, premised on official results of the Salk vaccine evaluations study conducted at the University of Michigan and on past history of polio outbreaks in North Carolina. The doctor said that despite the Michigan study having established a 49 percent effectiveness rate, he placed the rate much higher, at between 60 and 90 percent overall and at about 90 percent in the category of paralytic polio.

The Public Health Service in Washington had promised a new official statement on the polio vaccine this date, but gave no hint as to what it might contain.

Dick Young of The News tells of John Otts, 46, having been named by the City School Board as a city assistant superintendent in charge of personnel and public relations. The principal of Central High School, on leave for part of the previous school year so that he could pursue studies toward a doctoral degree at Columbia University in New York, would assume his duties in September. He had obtained his masters degree in English at Vanderbilt and his undergraduate degree from Wofford College.

In Charlotte, a speeder using his dead brother's driver's license had been nabbed going 105 mph, and was appearing in two different courts this date to answer seven charges, which resulted in a total fine of $575 and court costs. He had been arrested on June 18 after leading City police and State Highway Patrol officers on a chase. He was sentenced to 14 months on the roads, suspended on probationary conditions. Among the charges he had faced were driving on a revoked license, drunk driving, speeding and reckless driving.

Donald MacDonald of The News reports that two small boys playing in a field off a street in Hoskins this date had discovered the battered safe which had been reported stolen the previous day from the home of the operator of the Thrift Road Drive-In Theater in Charlotte. The boys had found approximately $32 in silver and $850 worth of bonds within the scattered debris left beside the safe, as well as a small quantity of pennies left in a piggy bank. Police congratulated the two boys for immediately contacting police headquarters. The thieves had made off with almost $3,000 in cash which had been stored in the safe. The safe had apparently been opened with a sledgehammer which had also been left at the scene. Police asked anyone who had a sledgehammer stolen to report the theft to the police, as it might provide a clue to the suspects. The sledgehammer had a homemade hickory handle.

The freckles contest conceptualized by News columnist Julian Scheer would be judged the following day at Freedom Park for boys and girls ten years of age and under. Mayor Philip Van Every, singer Arthur Smith, and News sports editor Bob Quincy would serve as judges in the contest to determine who had the most freckles and who had the best single freckle. One did not have to be a resident of Charlotte to participate. The decision of the judges would be final. What gives? In this nation, we are entitled to due process and should have the right of appeal. In any event, the loser, we hear, gets a one-way trip down the Cahulawassee River, plus, to pay for expenses, the pennies from the piggy-bank recovered at the scene of the found stolen safe.

On the editorial page, "How To Break a Law without Trying" addresses the new South Carolina dedication to enforcement against North Carolina-bought whiskey being transported to South Carolina, even while people were on vacation, treating tourists as if they were rum-runners.

The reason for the new law was to boost sagging South Carolina revenues from the liquor trade.

It finds that it would bring about embarrassing contacts with South Carolina law enforcement by unsuspecting North Carolinians, simply going on vacation. It ventures that South Carolina might be carrying its states' right philosophy too far, seeking to resurrect the old Articles of Confederation, which had preceded the Constitution. When the Articles had been in effect, Congress had lacked the power to regulate interstate commerce, resulting in the states setting up tariff barriers against one another and throwing the commercial relations of the country into chaos. It finds that South Carolina's action was essentially raising a trade barrier to North Carolina. "A few more days of this nonsense and the ghosts of Madison, Washington and Hamilton will be bombing Columbia [S.C.] with history books."

"Farm Surpluses: Treadmill to Nowhere" indicates that Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina had delivered an Independence Day speech at Carthage, N.C., saying that "our farm economy is sick—sick to the bone." He had then heavily criticized the Administration's handling of the farm surplus situation, saying that the Administration was content to allow surpluses to continue to pile up while farmers received less and less for what they grew.

It finds it a self-defeating scheme that he was ultimately pursuing, such that the Government would not only commit itself to pay fixed prices for what the farmer produced, but also to pass it on, absorbing whatever additional loss was entailed in that transaction.

"Mr. Benson and His Bait of Crow" tells of Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson having finally faced up to his error in the case of Wolf Ladejinsky, land reform specialist who had been labeled a security risk the previous December, then fired from the Department of Agriculture, but promptly hired by the Foreign Operations Administration, which gave him a sensitive post overseas.

By finally admitting that he was wrong, Secretary Benson had cleared the record, but it also suggests that he owed Mr. Ladejinsky an apology. The Secretary had appointed a four-man policy group to guard him against future violations of fair play, and, it suggests, they might be helpful, but could not substitute for courage and courtesy on the part of the Secretary.

It was one incident in a larger pattern which showed that the security program was beginning to recognize sanity, replacing hysteria with reason. Another such incident was the decision by the Justice Department recently to drop the remaining indictments against Owen Lattimore, after the U.S. District Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals had left only a small number of charges remaining around the periphery of the case. The D.C. Court of Appeals had also stated that the Attorney General's subversive list could not be used to deny a citizen's rights to a passport to travel abroad, that it had been established only for the purpose of determining Federal employment and could not be generalized beyond that limited scope. Congress had decided to place the study of the internal security program with a bipartisan committee charged with formulating safeguards for the rights of citizens, as well as for security. Senator James Eastland had praised and supported newsman Winston Burdette after the latter had openly admitted that he had once joined the Communist Party during the latter 1930's, to satisfy an emotional and intellectual need, but had left the party in 1940 when he determined that it was not meeting those needs. In addition, the Senate had recently failed by an overwhelming vote to pass a resolution introduced by Senator McCarthy which would have compelled the President to raise the issue of the Soviet satellites, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, at the forthcoming July 18 summit conference in Geneva. Former Republican Senator Harry Cain had exposed injustices of the present security system as well.

It indicates that all of those incidents appeared to form a trend toward responsibility, a far cry from the times when the Justice Department had been using the services of the admitted liar, Harvey Matusow, as a paid witness for the Government in numerous prosecutions, and when Senators McCarthy and William Jenner of Indiana had attacked such notable figures as General Marshall for supposedly selling out the U.S. to Communist China.

It doubts that the renewed sense of fair play could be attributed to any new-found virtue in Washington, that more likely, it was official recognition that the public was tired of the sideshow and the throwing of Communist labels and mud at innocent people. The rights of the citizenry and the safety of the nation had to be balanced, one being worthless without the other.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen-Times, titled "Some Tall Tennessee Claims", suggests that the Washington Post and Times Herald, while being a keen observer of the current scene in Washington, ought maintain better track of geography, as in a recent news story out of Richmond, Va., it had published that the Blue Ridge Parkway extended from Skyline Drive in Virginia to the Great Smokies of Tennessee.

It indicates that it was willing for Tennessee to have what rightfully belonged to North Carolina, in addition to the Smokies, Davy Crockett as a supposed native, when he had been born in what was now North Carolina. Tennessee made the claim, despite half of the Smokies existing in North Carolina. Tennessee had wanted the Blue Ridge Parkway, but had lost the fight to North Carolina and its superior scenery.

It acknowledges that Tennessee was not responsible for the Washington Post error, but finds that such errors appeared frequently to the loss of North Carolina in terms of publicity.

It indicates that, actually, the Parkway extended from Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, southwest through Virginia into western North Carolina, with its current terminus being just below Smokemont on the North Carolina side of the National Park, and never touched Tennessee soil within the park.

Drew Pearson again looks at the Dixon-Yates contract issues and the relationship of the First Boston Corp., two of the representatives of which had been planted inside the Budget Bureau when the project had been concocted. He suggests that First Boston ought be given a careful examination by the Senate Anti-Monopoly Committee, as the corporation's operations impacted not only Dixon-Yates but also the manner in which certain bankers had put key men in Government positions. The corporation was not located in Boston, rather on Wall Street. It had become what J. P. Morgan had once been, the largest underwriter of utility companies in the country, was anti-TVA and public power.

It had close ties with the White House through Sidney Weinberg, chairman of Goldman-Sachs and a member of the President's "golfing cabinet", as well as with General Robert Cutler of the First National Bank of Boston, parent to First Boston, and until recently, a member of the White House staff. It also had close ties with Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, with one of the directors of First Boston having also been a director of Secretary Humphrey's Pittsburgh Consolidated Coal Co., the largest coal company in the world. Mr. Pearson notes that Secretary Humphrey had never testified that he had sold his stock in the company or in his other companies.

He goes on detailing some of the close ties between the First Bank Corp. and Administration personnel.

Stewart Alsop, in Moscow, tells of the city being full of surprises, big and small, that among the smaller ones was the wallpaper in the hotel room, which was not wallpaper at all, but rather an elaborate pattern painted on the walls. "Krem Cola" was available as a "sweet and horrible drink", presumably a dual tribute to Coca-Cola and the Kremlin. When men began going bald, they shaved their heads clean. (American bald men started doing that about 30 years ago, obviously seeking imitation of Commies.)

Roadside advertising promoted such things as toothpaste, peace, vodka, kindliness toward cows, ice cream sodas and so on. The commercial purpose remained obscure, as most consumer goods were snapped up, regardless of price, as soon as they appeared in the stores. The abacus was a universal substitute for adding machines, even in the state-run banks.

He indicates that he had just had lunch in one of Moscow's two or three most expensive restaurants, all of which were expensive, and the restaurant appeared precisely as it must have 50 years earlier when his mother had visited Moscow as a young girl and likely ate in the same place. He describes it in detail.

The Kremlin offered another surprise, with the Western view being that it was "a collection of ugly, toad-like edifices, cold, sinister, and forbidding." But a campaign had been underway for some time to demystify the Kremlin and that former image was no longer accurate. The Czarist palaces had been painted a bright butter-yellow, with white trim, and the roofs were green, such that the Kremlin was now pretty and formed a tourist attraction. The coronation throne of Ivan the Terrible, the ten-horse Czarist state coaches with panels exquisitely painted by Boucher, and the imperial emeralds were all worth the admission fee to the museum.

"Yet, in an odd and paradoxical way, the really big surprise about this place is that it is so unsurprising."

Doris Fleeson tells of former President Herbert Hoover having handed down what amounted to his last political will and testament, as chairman of the commission on organization of the executive branch of the Government, submitting its last report, regarding water resources. It was the second Hoover Commission, the first one, under President Truman, having been authorized to suggest methods of economizing and increasing efficiency in government, having been bipartisan and noncontroversial, with about 70 percent of its recommendations having been adopted by Congress.

The second Commission, however, was designed to suggest policy changes, and the former President had not shirked that responsibility. The new reports recommended changes in the direction of the Government, liquidation of much of the New Deal investment in Federal projects, and a return generally to a small government concept. The former President, in his farewell press conference, had made it clear that he was quite satisfied with the results. He predicted savings from his plans by which the budget could be balanced and taxes cut, in all saving about ten billion dollars. He commented to reporters that it would be about 15 billion, but when reminded of the lower figure, stated that he had found other savings since that statement had been made. He also said that he had no information as to whether the Administration would ask Congress to enact the program recommended by the Commission.

Ms. Fleeson indicates that the latter statement reflected his astute assessment of political realities. The Administration, while praising the former President, had carefully refrained from committing to the recommendations. Democrats on the Commission had regularly filed dissents, and party leaders were publicly polite but were planning not to commit to anything until the White House made an issue of the recommendations, at which point, they would be glad to run against Mr. Hoover and the Depression again.

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., comments on a letter which he finds mixed up. He finds it "very regrettable that the Yankee carpetbagger Supreme Court again followed the course of the Great Emancipator, Abe Lincoln, (who actually was a very crude backwoods lawyer), and decided to do as Lincoln did, trample all customs and usage of the whites and Negroes." He thinks that the effort to enforce the decision in Brown v. Board of Education would lead to "trouble and bloodshed", equating it to the Civil War, with some colorful language regarding the emancipation of the slaves. He says that he had a high regard for most blacks, "but many of these people are less than 200 years removed from the utmost savagery." He finds it therefore useless to expect their conduct to be that of the white man, "who falls from grace himself with great regularity." He thinks that when a person laughed at the traditions and customs of Southerners, it would be better for the person to study the subject more closely. He says that in South Carolina, there were black people who lived so far from civilization that they spoke Gullah or Geechee, and lived in an entirely different environment from that of whites. There were also blacks on Hilton Head Island and similar places who were prosperous, had their own local setup, good schools, and outnumbered the small number of whites by 100 to 1. Many went into the states and worked or went to school and returned to their homes later to spend their savings, and there was no crime among them. "Let the Yankees and the do-gooders and the half-baked sociologists of Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, to say nothing of our nation's capital, Washington, cleanse their own cesspools of freedom and treat the Negroes and the Puerto Ricans better. Let them prove they are free from dangerous crime. Then I will believe in their stories but until I do know this has been done, I still say they are full of baloney and hot air."

Justice Clarence Thomas, born and raised in Georgia, around Savannah, has stated that he spoke Gullah as his first language until an early age. Pointing out that fact, however, should not be interpreted as lending any general credence to anything this writer stated in his letter.

A letter writer asked whether North Carolinians were for or against segregation, commenting that he was for separate but equal schools and separate but equal social activities. He says he had no hatred in his heart for any race of people, but would not want a child of his "to mix our white race with the Japanese, or the Chink, or any race, for I believe as Abraham did, Genesis 24:1-5." "Now if we, the ignorant class of people that believe in segregation, could have some of our intellectual, educated, broad-minded, sophisticated white brethren set the example for us by practicing what they preach, that would enable the ignorant people that are fighting integration to see the light if there is any." He finds that the only way to know the difference between right and wrong was the same way of knowing that there was a God, through the spirit of God, citing Corinthians 6:19. He says that most of the people with whom he had come in contact did not want the schools to be integrated and that he was planning to go to work for what they wanted, "regardless of what it is."

This is the same letter writer who had sought earlier to justify segregation through the Bible. Just where these writers get the notion that going to school together necessarily entails sexual relations between students such that a "mixed race" will inexorably result is beyond understanding, but it is a fundamental premise, however misplaced, which they appear to have or at least promote as a reason to decry integration. Again, we must assume that they went to schools in which sexual promiscuity ran rampant such that every student had sex with every other student as a rite of passage before graduation. They need to realize that times had long since changed, despite the development of penicillin.

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